Perfect day hikes in the Lake Louise area
Lake Louise is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada and possibly even the world. On a busy summers day up to 15,000 people per day visit the iconic lake shore. The blue colour of the lake really has to be seen to be believed!
During the summer parking may be restricted, please obey all signage and instructions from Parks Canada staff. This area is not just popular with humans so be sure to carry bear spray and tell someone your plans.
As well as the view from the lakeshore why not try one of our day hikes below to get a different vantage point. The hikes vary in difficulty so check out the description below, pull on your hiking boots and get your camera ready!
The hikes below are our favourites and the trails are easy to find for newcomers to the area. Be sure to tag @chateaumountainsports in your Instagram photos for a chance to be featured. And trust us, it won't be hard to take an amazing picture with the views you are about to see!
While you're in the area also check out our retail store conveniently located inside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise right on the lake. We have outdoor clothing and accessories from premium brands to get you on your way as well as maps and Lake Louise souvenirs to ensure you don't forget your visit.
Right, on to the hikes!
Fairview Lookout - 2km return, 100m elevation
This is a great introductory hike especially if you are new to the area or hiking at altitude. This trail starts from the boathouse on Lake Louise. If you are looking across the lake with the hotel behind you head left towards the wooden boathouse and follow the signs from there.
The hike heads uphill for most of the way, but not too steeply and the extra elevation means you get a great view of the lake and the hotel that you just don't get from the lakeshore.
Lake Agnes Tea House - 6.8km return, 385m elevation
Another popular hike and well-photographed location is the Tea House on the shore of Lake Agnes, an alpine lake sitting just above Lake Louise itself. Built in 1901 and serving visitors since 1905 the tea house is a great place to stop for a break and enjoy the scenery. The hardest part is choosing which one of the 100 tea varieties or delicious baked goods to try!
The Tea House is seasonal (summer only) and accepts US and Canadian cash. Due to COVID we would recommend confirming the opening times before setting off on your hike.
Although much smaller than Lake Louise, Lake Agnes is just as picturesque and the approach is very straight forward. If you are looking over Lake Louise with the hotel behind you, head right and take the right fork in the trail shortly afterwards to head uphill. The trail is well traveled and has a relatively easy surface to hike on.
If you wish to continue further you can reach the summit of Big Beehive (an extra 1.6km and 135m elevation) or Devil's Thumb (an extra 5.1km and 498m elevation)
To reach these trails head from the Tea House along the right hand side of Lake Agnes. Cross at the bottom of the lake and head up the switchbacks. The trail then splits left to Big Beehive and right (and up!) to Devil's Thumb.
View from Devil's Thumb. Photo Credit: Shelby Blosky
Plain of Six Glaciers - 10.6km return, 365m elevation
How about a choice of Tea Houses to visit?! In addition to Lake Agnes there is also a Tea House at the Plain of Six Glaciers. Less visited but no less pretty, this Tea House can be found by following the right-hand Lake Louise lakeshore trail. Once you reach the end of the lake continue up the trail for another 3.6km and one you reach the switchbacks you're nearly there! Once you arrive relax and enjoy the view of peaks and glaciers from the deck of the Tea House.
It is also possible to connect the Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers Tea Houses via the Highline Trail. This forms a 14.6km loop and joins up to the junction of the Big Beehive/Devil's Thumb trails.
Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. Credit: p6teahouse.com/
Fairview Mountain - 10.2km return, 1012m elevation
Fairview Mountain seen from Lake Louise. Credit: Bob Spirko
Follow in the footsteps of the original Swiss Mountain Guides who popularised this area for hiking and mountaineering in the early 20th Century.
The trail starts at the Lake Louise boathouse, to the left as you look down the lake from the hotel. The trail is well marked and has signs at major junctions so is easy to follow. The difficulty comes with the elevation gained over the 10km to the summit but it is definitely achievable for people with hiking fitness and experience.
The trail climbs through the pine forest until around 2km from the top. Then you will notice that the larch trees become more and more common (an amazing sight in the fall) and the tree cover starts to thin out to offer views of Fairview Mountain. The trail continues to Saddleback Pass and on up a series of steep switchbacks to the summit. Once at the summit congratulate yourself on getting here and enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Louise and the surrounding area. Once you can tear yourself away, return by the same trail to the lakeshore.